Goga selected Baldwin’s Male Athlete of the Year
Mike Goga spent countless hours in the Baldwin gym.
He was a three-year starter in basketball and volleyball and landed all-section and All-WPIAL honors as a senior.
For his efforts, Goga was lauded as the senior male athlete of the year for 2017-18 at Baldwin’s annual athletic awards banquet May 20 at Crowne Plaza Hotel.
“I am so honored to have been named male athlete of the year,” said Goga, 18. “It is a true blessing to join previous Baldwin greats that also won the award. Also, I am very honored to win the award alongside Taylor Dadig, another great student-athlete. I feel it was a great way to end my career at Baldwin.”
Goga’s athletic career came to a screeching halt May 17 against North Allegheny in the WPIAL Class AAA volleyball playoffs. NA defeated the Highlanders, 3-0, and went on to clinch WPIAL and PIAA titles.
“I am definitely going to miss competing in both volleyball and basketball in college,” Goga said. “It was a huge part of my life up until this point, so I will try to continue to play both sports in whatever capacity I can in the future.”
A four-year varsity team member in basketball who was selected for the Roundball Classic this past season, Goga plans to major in engineering and was accepted at Pitt, Penn State and Ohio State. He decided to attend Pitt, where he will devote his time to his studies.
He also considered continuing his distinguished hoops career and had offers from Allegheny, Washington & Jefferson, Penn State Behrend and the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.
“Making my final college decision was the most difficult decision of my life,” Goga said. “I was faced with the very difficult choice of continuing my basketball career at a smaller school or attending my dream school to obtain a great education at Pitt. In the end, I decided that Pitt was the best fit for me considering my major and the proximity to home, and the existing connections Pitt has with big corporations that provide internships and job opportunities to Pitt students.
“I strongly considering going to a different school up until the last few days before my decision. My decision came down to the United States Coast Guard Academy and Pitt. The Coast Guard Academy presented some really intriguing opportunities, but I felt that I had to make some sacrifices in athletics in order to make the best decision academically.”
Goga and teammate Nick Fiumara were selected to play for the East all-star team at the Roundball Classic. The East squad was coached by Joe Urmann, who resigned as Baldwin’s coach following the 2017-18 season.
A 6-foot-4 forward, Goga was a three-year starter and the Highlanders’ leading rebounder. He averaged 10.2 points.
He also helped spark the Highlanders’ volleyball team to one of its best seasons in recent memory from his middle hitter position, leading to the retirement of longtime coach Eric Falcione.
“Although I have so many great memories from my time at Baldwin, I think all the time I spent with my coaches and teammates are the memories that I will cherish for the rest of my life,” said Goga, who graduated with a 4.5 GPA. “In terms of accomplishments, I have fond memories of our basketball playoff appearances in 2016 and 2017, as well as our volleyball playoff run in 2018.
Ray Fisher is a freelance writer.